Short term disability is the coverage paid to an employee when they are not able to work due to a non-work related injury or illness. Take note of the difference between work and non-work related injury. If the injury happened during work, you are covered by worker’s compensation, not short-term disability.
If you recently acquired an injury or illness that is non-work related, you should be filing for short term disability. Here are some tips to help you during the process:
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1. Document your injury
Have a record of your injury the moment it happens from photos to doctor consultations. You will need this to back up your claim for receiving short-term disability. Be honest about your disability as this will be carefully reviewed by the insurance company. They will determine how many days you will be out of work due to the injury. In some cases, they might not deem it severe enough and that it can be covered by sick days.
2. Ask your employer
Some employers might offer short-term disability as part of your benefits, so ask them first. They are not required to provide you this but may do so because there is the incentive of having federal tax deductions. At the moment there are only five states that require employers to provide short-term disability for their employees.
BONUS: As soon as you are hired for the job, you should be reading through the details of your plan. This will include the duration of the coverage, how much, and what conditions are covered.
This helps so you don’t feel overwhelmed with new information the moment you have your injury. You already know what to do and what you’re entitled to get. This is especially important if you have an existing problem or condition.
3. Coordinate with HR or your manager
Once you see if you’re eligible for short term disability in your area, it’s time to begin the process of filing the claim. Approach your HR department as they will help you accomplish the forms needed. If you don’t have an HR department, talk to your manager about the requirements. Your physician’s office might even be able to help outline the process for you.
4. Find a supportive doctor
A supportive doctor can make all the difference in getting your short-term disability claim approved. Some do not believe in disability and will not be supportive of your application no matter how sick you are. They might even hurt your case with the things they write in your record.
This is why it’s important to coordinate with the right doctor. When speaking to them, be as transparent as possible. Do not downplay or overplay your symptoms. They can then help provide the required medical documents to support your claim as well as help you fill out and mail the documents to the insurance company.
5. Initiate an appeal
If the unfortunate happens and you get denied for your short-term disability claim, don’t panic. You can still send an appeal within 180 days. During this time, review the correspondence carefully and find out why you got denied. You can then gather more evidence to prove that you are eligible.
You may need to hire a lawyer to help you with this. Certain lawyers specialize in short-term disability and will be able to help strengthen your claim. Make sure you have copies of everything they have pertaining to the claim.
6. Consider other options
There are also other ways you can get disability insurance such as Social Security or state disability programs. These may be a bit more time-consuming to acquire but it’s better than not receiving any compensation at all.
Which of these tips did you find the most useful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.